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Water Management in Paper, Pulp & Board Mills

Water Management in Paper, Pulp & Board Mills

This good practice guide deals with a number of issues faced by organisations operating paper and board mills and wishing to identify and implement process improvements, in particular the reduction of water and chemical usage, and wastewater and effluent costs.

The UK paper industry is a major water user, and is under increasing pressure to improve the efficiency of its water consumption. This good practice guide is intended to help companies assess and improve their management of water.

Improved water management

Environmental Performance Guide Water Use in UK Paper and Board Manufacture established that there are considerable variations in water consumption both within and between the various paper industry sectors. Most companies are likely to achieve significant cost savings by adopting best practice in this area, thereby improving their competitive position. Other benefits resulting from improved water management include:

  • improvements in security of supply - a significant issue for mills in drought-affected areas;
  • better relationships with regulators, employees and members of the public through the demonstration of sustainable water use policies.

Water use audits

The first task for any company seeking to improve its management of water is to assess its current performance by either preparing water balances or undertaking a detailed water audit.

In setting effective targets for water use, the company should take into account the wealth of experience that already exists among its staff and any limitations imposed by either plant or product. Modelling techniques can, where appropriate, be used to set targets, and companies should also consider running trials before making full-scale changes to plant operation.

Steps that can be taken to reduce plant water consumption

  • better overall management;
  • design stage procedures (new plant/equipment);
  • low-cost improvements, e.g. minimising hose use, production scheduling, leak detection and repair;
  • process modifications such as optimising shower water use and re-using cooling water;
  • process redesign, e.g. improving the quality and management of white water so that more can be recycled;
  • total system closure with zero liquid effluent.

UK best practice

This guide includes several examples of UK best practice, including a detailed study of how one mill has almost halved its consumption of water in a four-year period by better management and by equipment and procedural modifications. It also includes a water use minimisation Action Plan... request a copy of the full document >>

Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen’s Printer for Scotland.

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